Friday, March 12, 2010

Cava's Paella VQA Wine Pairing Event

A crowd of enthusiastic wine industry people and passionate foodies gathered for this evening of Spanish cuisine created and prepared by the very talented chefs Christopher Macdonald and Doug Penfold at Cava Restaurant. I will not speak about the wines as many wine writers attended this event and will report about the evening.

We began with "tapas": a single mussel covered with a salsa of chopped, wild pickled leeks, oven roasted tomato, hominy corn, mint and olive oil. A wonderful combination of textures and flavours that  complemented the mussel; a combination of chicken liver mousse and tripe with arbol chilies, the smokey, spicey flavours combining so well with the rich liver; crispy, crunchy deep fried smelts with an herbal mayonnaise dipping sauce; nutty flavoured, delicate, very thinly sliced La Quercia green label organic ham.

Our main course, paella, was made with snails, pulled roasted duck, sliced chorizo, saffron, orange zest, garlic and bomba rice. This was great Spanish comfort food. Very moist with a terrific combination of flavours: the smokey chorizo, earthy snails, rich tasting duck meat, the bright contrast of the orange zest giving dimension to the layered flavours and the wonderful background flavour of saffron.

A slice of manchego cheese, a wedge of mildly tarte membrillo (quince paste) and mini rolls refreshed my palate.

Dessert was pistachio nougate served on a semi-freddo of seville orange cubes and candied orange zest, all surrounded by Mexican porcelana chocolate(one of the world's highest quality) sauce. This wonderful dark chocolate mellowed the bitter aspect of the seville orange and well complemented the pistachio nougate. I wanted to lick my plate!

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